Volunteer work is good for the soul. That’s a given. A study out of Germany shows it may also help you perform better in your paying job.
The study included people who worked five days a week and spent about 7 hours volunteering in activities ranging from fire departments to church groups.
For two weeks, they completed two daily questionnaires, one after work and the other before going to bed. They detailed how much time they’d spent volunteering and recorded their feelings on need satisfaction, psychological detachment from work, learning experiences, and well-being at work.
There was a positive relationship between their scores in all those areas and the amount of time spent volunteering. In addition, participants who felt their needs were being met reported improvements in active listening at work the following day.
The researchers say volunteering can benefit the workplace by helping people disengage from their work and satisfying needs that aren’t met there – like mastering new skills and relating to people socially.